‘Buy Me, Boston’ details local ads and flyers from Boston’s cultural heyday


Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.

Last summer, when Vanyaland rolled out its 1987 Week series, some of the most well-received posts, both here on our homepage and on social, featured local ads, arts calendars, and show flyers from three decades prior. It served as a time capsule, of sorts, a view into the pop culture landscape of ’87 — snapshots of now-huge bands playing small local rooms, the strange fashion of the times, and long-gone businesses and hangouts that seemed so essential at the time.

Local historian Brian Coleman, the author behind the Check the Technique hip-hop series and our January article on The Del Fuegos’ infamous January 1983 show at Walpole Prison, has taken our collective affinity for ephemera and compiled and curated a massive collection of local ads and flyers titled Buy Me, Boston.

Out this October, the collection features 294 pages and nearly 400 color and black/white images from Boston’s cultural heyday of the 1960s to 1980s. From rock clubs like The Rat and Cantone’s to restaurants like T.T. The Bear’s Place (!!!) to clothing boutiques like Allston Beat, Buy Me, Boston showcases original scans from original sources, like The Boston Phoenix, The Real Paper, Boston After Dark, and others. The goods are supplied straight from those who have held on to them all these years, renowned archivists and historians including David Bieber, Kay Bourne, and Wayne Valdez.

Currently only available via the author, with wider distribution and an official release with launch events by October, Coleman has generously offered us five pages to preview, and you can flip through them below. Our picks include a circa-1988 WFNX 5-year-anniversary party flyer at Axis featuring Pixies and The Lemonheads and an ad for David Bowie playing Cape Cod back in 1974. For that T.T.’s restaurant ad — boasting about how fresh and affordable its seafood is! — you’ll just have to buy the book.

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